Prison for Hanover-area heroin dealer who provided fatal dose

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Franklin County woman has been sentenced to a minimum of a decade in state prison for providing a fatal dose of heroin to a Hanover man eight years ago.

Jennifer Busbey, 27, of Mont Alto but formerly of Gettysburg, appeared in York County Court on Tuesday, July 24, where she was sentenced to a total of 10 to 20 years in prison for killing Aaron Lawrence. She was given credit for the 402 days in prison she's already served, according to court records.

Lawrence, 20, of Hanover, died July 20, 2010.

Jennifer Busbey

Busbey was convicted May 18 of third-degree murder, drug delivery resulting in death, heroin possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy to commit all three offenses.

Her co-defendant, Justin Wentz, 29, of Hanover, is charged with the same offenses but will stand trial separately. He is serving time at the state prison in Marienville, Forest County, according to prison records.

However, he was back in York County Prison as of Wednesday, July 25, for court, according to prison records. His online court file does not yet list an upcoming hearing.

Wentz's trial was severed from Busbey's so Wentz could testify for the defense in the case, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.

The background: Hanover Police have said Busbey and Wentz drove to Baltimore to get the heroin, which was then given to Lawrence. He overdosed from it that night, according to court documents.

Police were called to a house in the 800 block of Broadway about 4:45 a.m. July 20, 2010, by Wentz, who reported that Lawrence was not breathing, court documents state.

Aaron Lawrence and mom Tracy.

Wentz told 911 dispatchers he did not know what happened to Lawrence, police said.

While on scene, officers found Busbey's purse, which had two baggies inside that tested positive for heroin and cocaine residue, police said.

"Suspiciously absent from the room was any means to prepare heroin for ingestion into the human body or any devices used to ingest the substance into the human body," Sgt. Jason Byers wrote in charging documents.

Police say Wentz called and texted different people that night, leading up to his 911 call early that morning. He even called Lawrence six times between 12:30 a.m. and 1:55 a.m., despite the fact that the two were in the same house, police said.

A witness told police Busbey confessed to providing Lawrence with heroin that night, and that Lawrence turned blue, lost consciousness and went into convulsions, documents state.

That person told authorities Busbey and Wentz gathered all the drugs and paraphernalia and hid all of it in a shed behind Busbey's mother's home before returning and finding Lawrence dead, documents state.

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No remorse? The witness told police that Busbey felt no remorse, despite the fact that she sold heroin to someone who'd just been released from prison and had a low tolerance for the opioid, according to police.

"Busbey stated that 'police did not have enough to go on, and she would probably never be charged,'" Byers wrote in charging documents.

Busbey allegedly said she did not call 911 because she did not want to be "involved" in the death, police said.

Police have said that if the opioid antidote Narcan had been administered in a timely manner, Lawrence would have lived.

Aaron Lawrence, 20, of Hanover died of a heroin overdose on July 20, 2010.

'Typical' family: Lawrence's mother, Tracy Lawrence, has told The York Dispatch that her son was a typical boy from "the typical Hanover family."

She said her son told her he started snorting heroin, but eventually it progressed to intravenous injections.

"He said he never shot himself up," Tracy Lawrence said. "It was always someone else, because he could not do that to himself."

Aaron Lawrence's addiction caused him to steal items, and he racked up theft-related charges in both York and Adams counties, according to court records.

He was locked up for his crimes and released on July 8, 2010, looking healthier and happier, his mother said. Less than two weeks later, he was dead.

Tracy Lawrence said her middle son was an energetic boy who loved skateboarding and riding BMX bikes.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.